Fettuccine with Roman ragù

In most trattorie or osterie where we went in Rome, we could find on the menu at least one pasta dish with some form of meat sauce, usually served with fettuccine.

The Roman ragù, as opposed to its Bolognese counterpart, has a more pronounced tomato base rendering it tangier and probably a bit lighter than its Northern cousin. The use of chicken liver is optional, and I do not add it all the time. It is quicker to prepare than a Bolognese sauce and easy to transform into a lasagna recipe. It is also my go-to recipe when I make a timballo di pasta (baked pasta in dough). It is a great recipe for a Friday night meal.

I use a combination of white wine/chicken broth or red wine/beef broth for a different final product, both of which are delicious in their own way. Experiment and enjoy!

Fettuccine alla Romana

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
450 g lean ground beef
100 g prosciutto, finely minced
4 or 5 chicken livers, trimmed and finely chopped (optional)
1 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, puréed until smooth
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
450 g fettuccine
Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
good extra-virgin olive oil


1. In a heavy bottom pot, cook the onion, carrot and celery in the oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef, the prosciutto and the chicken livers (if using) and cook until the meat has browned properly, another 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the white wine, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the wine has reduced by half.
4. Add the puréed tomatoes, the chicken broth and the bay leaf, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick and gorgeous, about 90 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more broth. Adjust for salt and pepper.
5. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente, drain and mix with the sauce over low heat until the sauce sticks to the pasta. Add freshly grated cheese and serve in individual bowls with a nice drizzle of olive oil and more cheese at the table.

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